My shorthand crowded many Big Chief tablets when I was eighteen. I scribbled a mysterious novel about a troubled young man who worked at a banana ripening plant in Tucson. Everyday he had to watch in horror as tarantulas slowly crawled out of the banana bunches. I think my father gave me this idea, because he knew something about banana ripening plants from his days as a refrigeration repair man. I can hardly contain my laughter when I remember of how serious I was about this novel. Shorthand did look interesting on the pages of the old Big Chief tablets. I always bought them at Woolworths, a favorite store of mine at the time.
This wonderful dancing man looks like what I imagined my character Juan, from my novel Juan and Willy would look like on the night before his disastrous gold mining adventure. Juan is a hypochondriac and a trickster, but you’ve got to love him. I suppose Willy is watching in the crowd.
This is a fun old video of the city of Nogales, Sonora. I wrote a short story entitled “Maelstrom” about a vagrant in Nogales. I saw him in 1977, which is about the time of some of these photos. My parents went to the Cavern all the time. They never took me! Damn! I wonder what I would have eaten. Oysters and turtle soup would not have appealed to me.
‘Ah, sir, did you just say you want me to practice laughing while playing?’ Hearing him wrong seemed the only possibility. No one could have said anything as ridiculous as that.
James Sauerbaugh, Trombones Can Laugh